Mr. Peabody's WABAC Machine*

Mr. Lady once referred to me as her high school sweetheart. Make of that what you will. Suffice it to say, we go back a ways. Supposedly this week Mr. Lady is enjoying a sabbatical and her laptop is powered down and tucked away in a little box under the bed ... and the Easter Bunny and Santa really do exist. Also, I have a fine ocean-front property for sale right here  in Colorado. Ahem, so despite compelling pleas from my inner demon, I've opted to be on good behavior. I know where she hid the bodies but I ain't tellin' - at least not this time around.

Since the advent of  Marge In Real Life, I have made the occasional reference to the CLF. I've said once or twice that maybe one day I'll explain just what that is but then I never got around to it. Why? Well, because the whole story hails back to an era in my life that is sometimes better left alone. Incidentally, it's an era that owes its finest memories to its main characters - not the least of which would be Mr. Lady, or God'o'Editors as I was fond of calling her in those days. So, I says to myself, what better opportunity to tell the tale than right here on her blog?

************** (page break made fashionable by Gnillips)

According to the great and sometimes fallible Wikipedia, the term or acronym "CLF" may refer to any of the following:

  • Conservation Law Foundation, a legal environmental advocacy organization

  • Church of the Larger Fellowship

  • Chlorine monofluoride(ClF)

  • Clear Sky Lodge Airport's IATA code

  • Cleveland-Cliffs Inc., a business firm specializing in the mining of iron ore.

  • Clifton Forge (Amtrak station)'s station code

  • Contingency Logistics Flights - Space Shuttle missions STS-131 and STS-133

  • Common Log Format - A standardized text file format usually associated with web server logs.

  • Contactless RF Front End (also called NFC)

Sadly, it neglected this important possibility:

  • Colorful Liberation Front

If you ask him today, my good friend Joshman will likely deny any and all involvement with the genesis of this movement. In truth, it was his idea but he certainly never intended it to become anything real, much less a creature of cult-like proportions. Math class was boring and we were passing a note filled with our usual mindless banter which came to the conclusion that our school was colorless and mundane and it should be the mission of (spontaneously invented) Colorful Liberation Front  to do something about it.

In the days that followed, I would commit many a misdemeanor as I defaced school property and recruited others to do the same. My friend Steph was insanely organized and all of her class notes were color-coded on neat little note cards. I thought she was super cool and before long I had my own little obsession with colored markers. And a new-found use for them. In my shamefully abundant spare time, I designed possibly hundreds of brightly colored, often nonsensical, always whimsical little stickers.


And slowly, but surely an almost imperceptible change began to come about. On locker doors, the underside of stairway rails, inside text book covers, on table legs and chair backs, windows and even smack-dab in the middle of Mr. Bunge's classroom clock. Ok, that one wouldn't go unnoticed for long. And when the stapler-throwing, eraser lobbing English teacher did take notice, he simply requested an explanation. The details of the confession are a little fuzzy but when he heard the premise behind the little sticker, he actually didn't think it was all bad and the CLF badge was allowed to remain.

clf-003 clf-002

My morning ride to school was an early one and as I sat around the study area of the second floor watching the sun come up, I cranked out more and more stickers. My little army of rebels did their part too. Soon I was discovering the CLF mark in somewhat unexpected places. One day, as I was walking back through the parking lot with some of the trench-coat clad smoker crowd (no, I wasn't one of them, I just had friends in every clique), we noticed a car with the window rolled down. Pressing a sticker to the back of the rear view mirror was a small and satisfying act of vandalism.

After two years of this craziness, the powers-that-be reviewed my progress and determined that I had just barelymet the criteria to receive my diploma. I'll admit it, I'm a dork, and to prove it, I painted CLF in large letters on a bandanna and attached it to the top of my commencement day cap for all the world to see.

clf-cap  laketoddcolby

After a summer of cheese-keeping and fun in Lake Todd Colby, I entered the adult world of responsibility, employment, and flying airplanes  with nary a thought of the old CLF save for a small collection of undeployed stickers which I plastered onto a cardboard tube for a pencil can on my desk. 


It must have been at least two years after graduation that I heard through the grapevine of a friend that was at a Front 242 concert at a popular local venue and discovered a CLF sticker in the bathroom. What the....?! I wanted to believe it but it seemed too bizarre until I began to hear that the torch was indeed still lit and had been carried by other students at the school. To this day these rumors remain unconfirmed and I'm sure with time the legacy faded away. I'd be willing to bet there are still some relics of the great CLF lurking where one might least expect to find them.

And that, gentle readers**, is the Tale of the CLF. Now let us never speak of this again.


* Mr. Peabody's WABAC machine
**It's a Rudyard Kipling reference. C'mon.


I know I said I was going to be good but then I was down in the crawl space - you know, where the bodies are buried - and I ran across a few gems.

that's Molly on the left

I had yet to learn to take flattering pictures back then

yes, that's a blue-haired troll